Mariner and 2 dogs rescued from sinking fishing vessel

Mariner and 2 dogs rescued from sinking fishing vessel
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 4:37 PM AKDT
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SITKA, Alaska (KTUU) - A man and his two dogs were rescued by the Coast Guard early Wednesday morning after his fishing boat began to sink.

The Coast Guard received a mayday call from mariner Robert Johnson before 5 a.m. which stated that a vessel was taking on water in Freshwater Bay, south of Hoonah. The man and his two dogs were onboard the 33-foot-long fishing vessel named The Bailey Bay.

Other vessels in the area that also heard the mayday call were able to provide their locations to the Coast Guard, which used those coordinates to determine the location of the sinking vessel.

Crews located the man onshore at 7:56 a.m., where he was awaiting rescue in a survival suit and trying to signal Coast Guard helicopters using a flare. Johnson and his two dogs are reported to be in fine condition.

Rescuers credit Johnson’s preparedness with making for an easy, successful rescue.

“This demonstrates the importance of coordination and communication between our Coast Guard crews and the local Alaskan vessels who were able to assist us in locating and rescuing the mariner,” Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Trevor Layman said.

“The mariner was well prepared for an emergency and utilized a flare to direct us to his specific location. All these factors allowed us to do our job in an efficient manner to bring the man and his dogs safely home.”

Johnson’s submerged boat The Bailey Bay was later located in water roughly 30 feet deep. The ship’s gas tank was holding less than 75 gallons of diesel fuel before it went down and produced a small sheen on the surface of the water.

The cause of the vessel’s sinking is still under investigation.